Hi! I am currently being an antisocial hermit and not monitoring my blog comments. If you are in mortal peril and need to contact me, you can reach me at wingitvegan (at) gmail.com. Back to my hermit cave now. (Updated August 2016)

Friday, January 22, 2016

Coconut Oil Suet Cakes

Greetings from the vestibule of my hermit hole! How is 2016 treating you? Marvelously, I hope. Are you staying warm? And are my southern hemisphere peeps staying cool? I've been hiding under my electric blanket with a cup of hot tea glued to my right hand whenever possible. My left hand has a firm grip on the remote control. Don't even try to pry it out of my frozen claw.

Coconut Oil Suet Cakes


Our poor little backyard birds have been having a rough cold week out there. How do they make it out there? They're so tiny and delicate! Our bird feeders have been extra busy these past couple of weeks. The woodpeckers love to eat those suet cakes that have bits of nuts and seeds and corn in them, but the ones that they sell at most wild bird supply stores or big retailers like Walmart are all made with beef fat. The reason I came out of my hermit hole today is to share a "recipe" for coconut oil "suet" cakes. These are not something we'd make all year round because coconut oil is expensive and we are not made of money, but also because it must be quite cold enough outside for the coconut oil to remain solid. I don't really measure the ingredients because it's basically just a bit of melted coconut oil with a lot of chunky goodies thrown in, but I did take notes and pictures when I was making this suet cake so I could share them with you in case you want to make some for your wild birds. Let's do this!

For one cake you will need about:

2.5oz (70g) coconut oil
1 heaping tbsp unsalted, natural peanut butter
2oz (60g) chopped unsalted nuts (they love peanuts and whatever nuts I may have from the bulk bins)
2oz (60g) cracked corn
1oz (30g) millet
about 1 tbsp cornmeal
about 1 tbsp oats

The instructions are quite simple. Gently melt the oil and the peanut butter together either in the microwave or over low heat in a saucepan. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Done! You may need to use a bit more cornmeal and/or oats if you have too much soupy oil in your bowl. All the solid ingredients will sink to the bottom of the bowl or saucepan and you should have only a thin layer of oil at the top (see photo #3 below.) Now you just need to transfer it all into a mold that would be about the same size as your suet cake and refrigerate it until it's completely solidified. You can use unsalted seeds instead of corn or millet.

Coconut Oil Suet Cakes

Coconut Oil Suet CakesCoconut Oil Suet Cakes
Coconut Oil Suet CakesCoconut Oil Suet Cakes

From top to bottom and left to right:

  1. Ingredients, assemble!

  2. Melted coconut oil and peanut butter.

  3. Nuts and other goodies mixed into the oil/peanut butter mix.

  4. The "suet" cake ready to be refrigerated.

  5. Dinner is ready! That type of suet cage can be found in most wild bird food shops and massive retailers like Walmart.

Now let's see what the customers think of these cakes.


Coconut Oil Suet Cakes

Coconut Oil Suet Cakes

Coconut Oil Suet Cakes

Coconut Oil Suet Cakes

Coconut Oil Suet Cakes

Coconut Oil Suet Cakes



(Can't see the video of the woodpeckers enjoying their treat? Try this.)

I think they approve! I hope it helps keep their little bellies warm during the cold winter nights. The little Downy Woodpeckers and the larger Red-Bellied Woodpeckers love these. Unfortunately, the starlings love them too. Starlings will "Vashta Nerada"* these lickety-split. Our resident mocking bird has been eating these too, as well as our tiny little juncos and even the sparrows.

Alrighty then. I've done my damage here. Back to my hermit hole!

* If you're not a Doctor Who fan, that just means a swarm of starlings will devour them swiftly!

EDIT: Don't worry if you can't find those suet holders in your area, do what Starr does and use string to hang the suet cakes!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Aquafaba Royal Icing Ghosts and Pumpkins

Not another year of foiled Halloweegan plans! I had lots of ideas for Halloween, but I've been going through a thing and I just haven't felt like getting crafty. I suspect this is a seasonal thing because the same thing happened last year at this time. But there is going to be at least this one Halloweegan post, and hold on to your bits because it's a picture-heavy bandwidth hog!

Aquafaba Royal Icing Ghosts and Pumpkins

It's Aquafaba royal icing! This is the royal icing recipe that I used via Geeky Cakes. It works so well! It works just like the egg-based royal icing that I used to make for my mother's old catering business. I added 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract to mine to give it a bit of flavor. First, I made little ghosts following a tutorial that I can't find anymore. That's helpful, isn't it? It was a very simple tutorial. First you have to pipe a tear-shaped blob using a large round decorating tip on a bit of wax paper, and when that has had about 15 minutes to dry, you pipe two little tear-shaped blobs on the sides of the big blob using a smaller round decorating tip. After all the blobs dry for a couple of hours, you can draw the eyes and mouths using an edible marker or a tiny brush dipped in food coloring. Again, this isn't my original idea but I can't find the tutorial that I use. I'll update this post if I find it.

This guy is not too happy.

Aquafaba Royal Icing Ghosts and Pumpkins

This guy is extra happy!

Aquafaba Royal Icing Ghosts and Pumpkins

This guy wants you to get off his lawn.

Aquafaba Royal Icing Ghosts and Pumpkins

Then I went vertical. Same decorating tips, but instead of making flat, tear-shaped blobs, I made vertical blobs.

Aquafaba Royal Icing Ghosts and Pumpkins

I made a few that stood up straight until I got bored with that and then I made some floppy ones.

Aquafaba Royal Icing Ghosts and Pumpkins

This poor guy looks like he's seen a ghost.

Aquafaba Royal Icing Ghosts and Pumpkins

Then I made tiny little pumpkins following this tutorial. Awful photo. Sorry about that.

Aquafaba Royal Icing Ghosts and Pumpkins

And then I went vertical again.

Aquafaba Royal Icing Ghosts and Pumpkins

That's it! Aquafaba royal icing *WIN*! I may try to make a little gingerbread house later this year now that I have a good icing recipe to hold it together. Unless I don't. That's a lot of work!

PS: I owe you a photo of a cute bird. I haven't taken any in a while! :(